“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his commands; seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the LORD’s wrath” (Zephaniah 2:3 NRS).
There is a quote about humility from C.S. Lewis that says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Jesus modeled humility in his ultimate selflessness upon the cross. Countless times he would have been justified, and even applauded in our minds, for opening the heavens and raining down the fire of heaven on those who stood against him, but no. That was not his will, nor his way. He thought less of his status, and more of raising up those forced to their knees by a society that was bent on sinning. He did not ask to be heralded, but to bring honor to the Father. He never demanded tribute for himself, but love for the least of these. The humility he revealed and modeled for us was indicative of his holiness, his divine ability to look beyond his wants and desires, to the needs of us all. Jesus was homeless and accepted the generosity of others to survive, rather than require offerings for himself.
So we are, his people, living in a world that thinks humility is for suckers. It thinks that those who are humble are naive, and ripe for being taken advantage of by the more assertive. Yet humility attracts the Christ-like heart and mind. We stand in awe of the profound humility of the likes of Mother Teresa, and countless others who go without to give to those who have nothing. We feel our hearts warmed by the sight of such power and authority vested in Pope Francis with his unwillingness to utilize it, much less abuse it for his own comforts. Secular culture parades around celebrities dripping in diamonds and couture clothing. It spends infinite hours filming inside their multimillion dollar mansions and touring their lifestyles of lavish spending and extreme decadence. People buy magazines and surf endless websites to look upon their wealth and gaze upon those of high status. We elevate further those who already have a heightened sense of self. Yet the King of kings and Lord of Lords got down on his knees and washed the filthy feet of the men whom he called into the greatest service of all time. The Lord says, “Seek me and live” (Amos 5:4b), and we readily see the glory of God when we seek to be humble. We live lives that are filled to overflowing when we set aside the things of this earth and seek God in Scripture and in others. We find fulfillment in drawing closer to our Lord, making God’s ways our own, and discovering the joy that only being redeemed can bring. Humility gilds all of that.
I mourn the loss of humility in our world. It is not totally gone, and it can be rekindled. The Holy Spirit is always ready to partner with us in taking on the mantle of humility, and being humble servants of Christ. We can reveal humility when we apologize, when we offer up what we have so another can be blessed, and when we are intentional about granting dignity to another. We can discover the incredible blessing of being known by God and loved, not because of what we have accomplished in worldly terms, but being beloved in heavenly ones. Our humble service and gracious love is the mark of Christ on us, in us, and upon our hearts. Our attitude of humility and gratitude honors the God we serve and love. Then we find that same God evermore, and more readily.
Humble Savior, Gracious Lord,
Hear my prayer for your guidance.
Cultivate in me humility,
That I may be modeled after you.
Let me serve and speak with gratitude.
Allow me to experience the depth of your love by loving others.
May my choices, my actions, and my intentions honor you,
As you came humbly to me.